07/11/2013 1:09PM

Canterbury Park: Mister Marti Gras slight choice in inaugural Mystic Lake Mile

Tom Keyser
There should be enough speed in the Mystic Lake Mile to set up the late move of Mister Marti Gras.

SHAKOPEE, Minn. – Saturday marks another important step in the partnership between the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux community and Canterbury Park as the $125,000 Mystic Lake Mile for 3-years old and up will be run for the first time. The card also includes the $100,000 Lady Canterbury for fillies and mares. Both are one-mile turf races.

Canterbury entered into a 10-year agreement with the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux in 2012 that will provide $75 million to fund purses. In return, Canterbury Park has agreed to drop its pursuit of a racino and will work with the Sioux community’s two casinos, Mystic Lake and Little Six, on joint marketing initiatives.

Mister Marti Gras is the narrow 9-2 morning line favorite in the Mystic Lake Mile for trainer Chris Block and jockey Francisco Torres. Second in the Grade 3 Hanshin at Arlington Park over Polytrack last time out, he is 4 for 14 over the turf. With his closing style, Mister Marti Gras will need some pace to set up his run, and that should be partially provided by 5-1 second choice Hammers Terror.

Hammers Terror’s last two victories have come in turf races at Canterbury Park, the June 16 Brooks Fields and last year’s inaugural Mystic Lake Derby. Hammers Terror won both of those races on the lead and is expected to show similar tactics here for trainer Michael Stidham.

The second- through fourth-place finishers in the Brooks Fields will take another shot at Hammers Terror. Slip and Drive and Wild Jacob both have shown their best over the turf, while multiple stakes winner Stachys has done his best running on the dirt.

Speedster Mr. Vegas will be making his first start since June 2012. Early last year he won the Grade 3 Bradley Handicap at Fair Grounds and just missed a front-running victory in the Grade 3 Fair Grounds Handicap.

A Diehl should benefit from the expected fast early pace. He is a two-time winner of the $100,000 J. Kenneth Self Stakes at Indiana Downs. In three starts this season, A Diehl has steadily improved, culminating in his Self Stakes win on June  15.

In addition to Stachys, trainer Mike Biehler will send out Waronthehomefront, who has been claimed after each of his last four starts, all wins, the last time for $25,000. 

Derby Kitten, Canterbury turf track-record setter Aroney, and the Louis Roussel III duo of Friendly Banter and Major Gain complete the field.